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  1. #1

    Default Homeschooling a gifted child

    I hesitate to post about my son (age 7), because I don't want to sound like I'm bragging but I've known for a while that his learning style is different and that he immerses himself in things that interest him to a very high degree for a kid his age. He began reading when he was 3. He had intense interests at age 3-4...elevators for one. He was somehow able to identify the make of an elevator by sight. He could say "that's a Dover". He was watching youtube videos of elevators when he was 4 and completely on his own. I never encouraged it.

    Now he is interested in stars and planets - again I didn't teach him about this, aside from taking him to the library where he found some books on the subject. He knows everything about them and is now reading books in the adult section of the library on the subject. He wants to know every detail about every star and draws picture after picture of them and labels everything and is SO intensely interested.

    So, my question - how do I educate a kid like this? It feels silly to do "science" when he is already learning advanced science on his own. So, do I just skip science and nurture his interest as much as possible with books, videos, trips to the planetarium? I guess he is a good candidate for unschooling, right?

    We're doing the usual - math, spelling, handwriting, etc. but what else should I do? Is it enough to just provide as many sources of his interests as possible? And then continue to work on grammar and everything else?

    He is also interested in computer operating systems (maybe a programming course soon?) and nutrition (wants to know all about vitamins and minerals in all foods and what the body needs).

    I just want to make sure I'm doing what I should be doing for him. I am grateful to be able to homeschool him.
    Homeschooling two boys, ages 7 and 11

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  3. #2

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    Really, you never encouraged him to watch elevator videos? Sorry, I just found that amusing.

    It sounds like you're doing a great job and your ideas are on the right track. Maybe look for ways to connect him with the "real world" of what he's into. I do this for my kids some, like I took BalletBoy on a tour of the country's best dance festival, but not being obsessive or gifted, it's worthwhile, but not transcendent, ya know? Like, for space, I would take him to the grown up astronomer's club or something like that - I can think of specific things, but they're all around here.

    Sounds like it will be challenging but fun, Lynne.
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Arrived lakshmi's Avatar
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    And make sure you hit the gifted forum at WTM.. it is at least a place where folks gather.. it may not be helpful .. and sites like Hoagies.. and all that...

    And not really unschooling just schooling at the proper level for his abilities. If he is in 7th grade science then start there.. if he is in 1st grade reading (or whatever, just an example) then do that.


    I assume that you know about Scratch and Kodu.. languages to program.... And just because the level is different just plan accordingly.. and make sure he can understand the higher level stuff by being prepared to cram the basics so he can learn what he needs to learn.

    I am guessing.. my kids are average... but that is what I do for them, if they want to learn something... like cross stitch.. haha. not that it is a gifted subject but if they want to dive in and make something, then we have to cram the basics.... like needle threading.. etc... bad example..

    Good luck, you can do it.. just keep on doing the best you can do.
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  5. #4
    Senior Member Evolved Deli76's Avatar
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    this is something i very interested in. dd was tested for gifted and she took gifted in school. this is our first year hs'ing her.I hope I am giving her what she needs. she has written several books. 2 of them are prolly worthy of taking to a publishing company. And last week i decided when she is done reading her current book, i might up the next book a level. She started teaching herself multiplication before the school year ended last year. we started homeschooling the first week of August (this month) and she is doing very well. She actually picks some of it up and does it herself. I somewhat know where you are coming from. I am staring at a science project in my kitchen as I type this. LOL The one thing I have been doing is just going with HER flow. Letting her take the lead. If she wants to know something, we look it up. whether its online or at the library. I do educate about the basics of the subject and kinda take it from there. Quite honestly, Im not a pro at any level of homeschooling, but if he is still asking lots of questions, he is learning. I always believed a childs natural curiousity should be fed. I hope I helped, and hopefully i can learn from your post as well.
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  6. #5

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    You educate a child like this by being their facilitator - doing the research to find them the resources and opportunities you know they will gobble up - the mental food they need.

    And by educating yourself about giftedness and the real challenges it can present.

    Finding other interested adults to spend time with your ds discussing/learning/teaching on topics of interest to him would probably be great as well, and give you a break from the intensity.

    The other thing gifted kids really, really need is the experience of working hard at whatever doesn't come naturally to them. It might not be something academic; for me it was mastering the floor polishing machine at a home I worked at But gifted kids, imo, really do need that experience of effort followed by success, because often a lot of the learning they do isn't very effortful.

  7. #6

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    Oh, and never hesitate to post here about your issues re educating a gifted kid.

    Anyone who has an ounce of knowledge about giftedness knows it is a two edged sword and most certainly it does not come under the heading of 'bragging'.

  8. #7

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    Agree with PPs. I'd just add I wouldn't necessarily skip science -- he may benefit from breadth since his nature seems to be to draw himself deeply into topics. But if you don't expose him to the breadth of science (or other subjects), he won't know what next to be intense about.

    I would think that the usual spiral through topics in science and history won't work well for him (assuming his retention is good and he'd find that annoying to cover the same subject just slightly deeper year after year), so you may want to more methodically cover history and science over larger cycles or scales (in other words, if you want to cover human anatomy, cover whatever you want to cover for the next several years now and don't come back to it again for a few years unless he shows an interest).

  9. #8

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    The other thing gifted kids really, really need is the experience of working hard at whatever doesn't come naturally to them.
    Anyone who has an ounce of knowledge about giftedness knows it is a two edged sword and most certainly it does not come under the heading of 'bragging'.
    Such good points, Stella. I totally agree.

    Gifted kids are challenging, no doubt. Most casual onlookers (or even close friends and family members) will likely have no clue what your life is actually like dealing with such intensity; they'll praise how "smart!" he is or be impressed (or bored) by his knowledge, but dealing with the real issues can be pretty lonely. Come here to vent, laugh or cry: there are plenty of us!

    I laughed at your elevator video comment too--he sounds so much like my DS at that age. I'm sure people thought I was crazy for feeding him so much "adult" information while he was in preschool, but really they were just his own interests.
    Mama to one son (12)

  10. #9

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    I have two gifted boys, one who pursues knowledge on his own, and one who pursues creative outlets on his own. Both are talented, but in very different ways. My youngest (age 7) became interested in Geography over the summer. He can take a blank map and identify every state in the US and every country in the world-- never taught him a thing about it. He was multiplying and dividing in his head before kindergarten. One thing I have noticed, and I'm not sure whether this is unique to him or not, is that once he moves on to a new passion, he loses quite a bit of the old (for example, his math skills appear to be weaker now than they were two years ago). My older son can build an elaborate Lego ship while listening to Narnia on audiobook and talking to you about something else. He's an inventor and a communicator, but remembers few facts, where my younger son is a fact sponge (and a poor communicator). I try my best to teach them to their strengths, but, as someone mentioned, to force them out of their comfort zones as well.
    Homeschool Dad
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  11. #10
    bcnlvr
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    Just wanted to echo the sentiments. Ds10 is my astrophysicist. Hoagies gifted is very helpful for pulling together things that might help him explore/go deeper. I also try to learn everything I can about giftedness and over-excitabilities....of which my son has several. (did I mention SEVERAL?!)

    I really ramped it up this year with the volume of work that I am requesting of him. He has always had input >>> output (writing, oration/narration) and I want his output to be challenged this year. We are only in week 1 of school, but he is really doing great! He reads a lot, but only about physics or astronomy. This year we are reading more anthologies, novels, and history (Hakim). Normally, he hates that stuff, but he is digging it this year. I think it's more developmental than "I am the best curriculum picker, EVAH!" lol

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